Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) may go with Reliance Jio to upgrade its networks to 4G throughout the country. Reliance Jio has reportedly developed an indigenous EPC (4G core) which can also be later upgraded to 5G. The reason why BSNL might look to ditch Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Tejas Networks and the Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) consortium is because of higher cost. BSNL feels like the bid prices presented by the Tata Group are too high. The state-run telecom operator is looking to upgrade over 1,00,000 towers around the country to 4G.
BSNL Can't Zero in On the Supplier
BSNL is facing troubles with zeroing in on the choice of supplier for 4G equipment. The state-run telco can only choose from local firms as the govt has strictly said no to going with foreign vendors. Despite being the frontrunners for helping BSNL launch 4G networks, the Tata Group consortium, including C-DoT, might go out of the race.
As per a report from the TOI, for each and every bid that the consortium has made, the price quoted has gone above Rs 20,000 crore. But BSNL's internal estimates only suggest that it should, at a maximum cost Rs 17,173 crore. BSNL's internal report suggests that Reliance Jio is also a viable option if the costs can be kept in check.
Along with this, other companies such as L&T, HFCL, and Tech Mahindra also need to be considered as they have shown proof of concept. But all of this may delay the project by 18 months. This would be a significant delay again and then would rule BSNL completely out of the market. BSNL needs to anyhow start deploying 4G across the country as soon as possible, or else its goals of upgrading to 5G in the coming years will be delayed as well.